In 2018 and 2019 YHwH delivered free health and wellbeing themed events for children and young people in Hillingdon. These were public events open to all young people living, working and studying and Hillingdon aged 11 to 25 and involved multiple partners hosting stalls and activities based on various health and wellbeing topics. Following the success of these Healthfest events, YHwH set out to host another event during the summer. The advent of COVID-19 and the introduction of the public lockdown in March required engagement with YHwH to be conducted online, and the ongoing social restrictions necessitated the need to plan and deliver Healthfest2020 via digital means.
19 sessions covering general wellbeing, mental health, employability and other topics were planned to take place between Monday the 10th and 21st of August on Zoom. The event was promoted via social media in the weeks leading up to it.
Of the planned sessions, 10 were delivered with a total attendance of 28, with the remaining 9 sessions cancelled due to lack of sign-ups – however the themes of these cancelled sessions were repurposed into future engagements with YHwH. Following the sessions, participants were asked to complete a feedback form about their experience of Healthfest, with 16 respondents:
- 100% were satisfied with the content of the sessions e.g. the information and activities.
- 100% were satisfied with how the session was run e.g. how it was organised, how the presenters interacted with everyone.
- 94% were satisfied with how the people running the session responded to their questions.
- 100% were satisfied with being able to access the sessions e.g. booking on Eventbrite, using Zoom.
In addition to reviewing participant feedback, a SWOT analysis with HwH staff and YHwH members was also conducted:
- Strengths – Sessions catered for a broad range of issues and kept young people engaged in health and wellbeing during lockdown. The safeguarding processes worked well as did the partnership working.
- Weaknesses – Lead time for promotion was too short and no real commitment for young people to attend session they have signed up for. Lack of interest and uptake from young men.
- Opportunities – Continue the provision of mindfulness sessions through social media and use the topics of some of the cancelled sessions for future engagement (work on this has already started with engagement through schools and the YHwH social media wellbeing advent calendar).
- Threats – Competition from other providers, young people’s access to digital technology and it may also be more challenging to engage young people now that schools are open.
As this was Healthwatch Hillingdon’s first programme of its type to be conducted entirely online, key learning points and the relevant recommendations for digital engagement moving forwards were also made:
- Longer lead in time for activities allowing more time for promotion.
- Partnership learning is essential so we will continue to work with other organisations, including schools, to enhance promotion, limit duplication of offer and enable greater digital accessibility for young people.
- Offer a longer term programme of regular activities or build activities/topics into other YHwH work rather than condense many activities into a short space of time.
- Consult with more young people before planning other programmes to support greater inclusivity.